101 Seminars

What is History 101?

The History 101 seminar is designed to guide you through the capstone experience of your undergraduate education as a history major: the researching and writing of your senior thesis. Successful completion of this challenging but rewarding endeavor requires you to do the work of a historian. Ultimately, this translates to producing a piece of scholarship—in this case, a 25-30 page final paper—in which you articulate and defend a historical interpretation/argument rooted in extensive primary source research, informed by thorough secondary source reading. See preparation guidelines below.

Spring 2020 Registration

If you would like to take History 101 this spring, for the best chance at your first choice of seminar please fill out this online form by 10am on Friday, 10/25:
101 Seminar Preferences Form
PLEASE NOTE: Make sure you're logged into your Berkeley.edu account to access this form.

Please indicate your top three choices, and include a short explanation of why your top choice makes the most sense to you. If you have a serious scheduling issue, please mention it. We really want to be certain that every 101 student is in the best possible section. If you miss the deadline, please email Leah when you realize you have missed it. You will still have a spot in a 101, just possibly not your first choice.

We will send you the course number you need in order to add your section via Cal Central soon after the July 10th deadline. You will be able to add the class as soon as your appointment for Phase II comes around.

Spring 2020 Seminars

Here are the instructors, schedules, and descriptions. Please note the special requirements for the Writers' Group.

History 101.001: Europe, Empire, and the Making of Modernity 
Instructor: Raphael Murillo
M/W 9-11am, Dwinelle 2303
Class #22559
This seminar welcomes students wishing to write a thesis on any European topic. It particularly invites students interested in early modernity; the themes of empire, the state, law, and modernity; global or transnational topics; or the use of quantitative methods. We will meet several times to discuss possible topics, questions, bibliographies, strategies for research and writing, and to review drafts. Success in writing a lengthy essay like a senior thesis often reflects one's preparation and students are accordingly encouraged to contact the instructor in advance of the spring semester to discuss their topics. 

Instructor bio: Raphael Murillo is a historian of early modern Europe whose current research focuses on state building, corruption, bureaucracy, and organization in Spain’s empire. He earned his Ph.D. in early modern European history from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018 and was a Berkeley Connect Fellow in 2018-9.

History 101.002: Europe and the World
Instructor: James Vernon
M/W 10am-12pm, Dwinelle 3104
Class #22560

This class is primarily designed for students who have made modern Europe or its empires their area of concentration. Class meetings will focus on the process of research and writing. Early readings will explore different models of research and writing and introduce students to the research materials available to them on campus. I am open to students writing on any subject so long as they have a good question, a set of archival sources that will help them answer it, and the languages they need to read those sources. Please note I am a historian of Britain, with no languages other than English and American, so can best guide students working in that field. Students wishing to take this class will have to meet with the instructor during RRR week in December to pitch their ideas so they can conduct research before the start of the Spring semester.

History 101.003: Modern Europe: Cultural History
Instructor: Isabel Richter
T/Th 1-3pm, Dwinelle 2231
Class #22561 
This seminar welcomes students wishing to write a thesis on a modern European topic. It particularly invites students interested in European cultural history from the late 18th to the 20th century. Class meetings will focus on the process of research and writing, and early readings will explore different models of research and writing and introduce students to the research materials available to them on campus. The seminar will guide students through the process of identifying a set of sources, formulating a thesis topic and research question, and drawing on the sources to formulate a compelling answer to the research question. Though not working on a common subject area, members of the group will observe a common schedule in developing, drafting, and critiquing material. Students wishing to take this class will have to meet with the instructor during the RRR week in December to discuss their topic so they can conduct research before the start of the semester.

101.004: Gender, Sexuality, and Medicine in 19th and 20th Century US History
Instructor: Sandra Eder
Tu/Th 2-4pm, Dwinelle 2303
Class #22562 
This seminar will guide students through the process of completing a senior thesis in a topic in US History with a focus on the history of gender and sexuality and/or medicine and science. Students interested in popular culture or women's history are also welcome. Our focus will be the research and writing process, ranging from the feasibility of research topics, historiography, methodology, and analysis. Students should contact the professor in advance of the seminar to discuss possible topics and, if possible, research questions.

101.005: American Census 
Instructor: Caitlin Rosenthal
Tu/Th 2-4pm, Dwinelle 3104
Class #22563 
With the 2020 census about to begin, the politics of counting people has never been clearer. This course is designed for history majors who want to write their 101 papers either about the history of the U.S. census or by relying on data collected by the census bureau (including both the population census and other data sets, such as agricultural and manufacturing censuses). This frame opens up the possibility of writing a thesis on a broad range of topics: while students will be encouraged to take advantage of census resources, these can be but one aspect of a broader approach that also includes other types of archival materials. Similarly, students will be encouraged to use a mix of methods, including both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Projects may track individuals over time or analyze large samples of data. This 101 may also be a good fit for students writing theses on other aspects of U.S. history which would benefit from contextual data, particularly for the time period where microdata is available (1790-1940). Students who plan to enroll in this seminar are strongly encouraged to contact the instructor during the fall semester to discuss potential research topics and sources.

101 006: Topics in U.S. Social and Cultural History
Instructor: Jennifer Terry 
Tu/Th 12-2pm, Dwinelle 2303
Class #22564 
This course is designed for history majors who want to write their senior thesis on some aspect of U.S. social and/or cultural history. Research that focuses specifically on issues surrounding race, gender, class, age, and/or popular culture will be particularly suited to this class. Over the course of the semester, instruction will guide students through the process of researching and writing an original piece of historical scholarship. Topics covered include identifying a primary source base, crafting a research question, devising a research plan, setting writing goals, historiography, methodology, analysis, drafting, and revision. Students who successfully complete this course will fulfill the history undergraduate capstone requirement. Students are encouraged to consider possible topics in advance of the course and should contact the instructor to discuss potential research questions and primary source bases before the end of the fall semester.

Instructor bio: Jennifer Robin Terry is a historian of 19th and 20th century social and cultural U.S. history. Her research situates the history of childhood within broader themes where children's experiences are often overlooked, such as in war, civil rights, and the labor force. Her research and teaching also focuses on interrogating foundational ideas on which culture forms and evolves.

101.007: Topics in U.S. Urban History
Instructor: Natalie Novoa 
M/W 9-11am, Dwinelle 2231
Class #22565 
This seminar will guide students as they produce an original piece of historical research (101 senior thesis) on a topic about some feature of U.S. urban history: topics about cities, suburbs, and metro areas, the lived experiences in these spaces or key events that happened within such environments. Students will be introduced to the research and writing process, develop a research plan, and engage in intellectual dialogue with their peers. Students are encouraged to contact the professor before the start of the semester to discuss potential research questions and primary source bases.

nstructor bio: Natalie Novoa is a historian of the 19th and 20th century United States, with an emphasis on post-1865 African American history. Her research and teaching interests include the social experience of African Americans in cities, sports, and recreation and leisure. Her current project, A Home Away From Home: Recreation Centers and Black Community Development in the Bay Area, 1920-1960, argues that black-run recreation centers played a pivotal role in the black community as sites of racial uplift and political activism. Creating their own agendas separate from white reformers and city officials, who believed structured recreation was a way to control and exercise surveillance over delinquent youth, black leaders viewed these recreational spaces as opportunities to provide community members with the necessary tools to challenge the racism they faced at work, school, and in the streets. Her work connects literature in urban history and African American history to demonstrate the unique circumstances that the city presented to African Americans, especially during and after World War II.

101.008: Topics in Race, Gender, and Migration in Latin America
Instructor: Elizabeth Schwall  
M/W 12-2pm Dwinelle 2231
Class #22566 
This class aims to support students with thesis projects on Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as those on race, gender, and migration in the Americas more broadly or examining Latin America comparatively in world history. Students will write a 25-30 page paper on some aspect of political, social, cultural, or economic history. Class meetings and assignments will revolve around independent research and writing, incrementally building toward the extended final research paper. We will work together on developing research questions, finding and analyzing primary sources (especially in Spanish and Portuguese when possible), situating original analysis in relation to prior scholarship, and developing a well-written final paper. Given the rich sources available at the Bancroft Library, students will have the opportunity (and be encouraged) to analyze relevant archival materials in their backyard. This challenging but rewarding seminar requires that students do the work of a historian, that is, produce a solid and compelling piece of scholarly research. In the process, students will also sharpen valuable transferrable skills of time management, research, clear writing, and originality. Students who plan to enroll in this seminar are strongly encouraged to contact the instructor during the fall semester to discuss potential research topics and sources.

Instructor bio: Elizabeth Schwall earned her Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History from Columbia University in 2016. She has held fellowships at Northwestern University and New York University, and has taught at Stanford University. Her book manuscript, “Dancing with the Revolution: A Political History of Cuban Dancers,” in preparation for University of North Carolina Press, examines dance and politics in Cuba from 1930-1990.

101.009: Topics in (East) Asian and Comparative History
Instructor: Kerry Shannon 
Tu/Th 9-11am, Dwinelle 3104
Class #22567 
This seminar is open to all students working on a topic related to East Asia, broadly defined to include China, Korea, Japan as well as maritime and continental Southeast Asia. Topics that place East Asia in a comparative or global context are also welcome. Students who plan to utilize sources written in one of the dominant Northeast Asian languages (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) will find this seminar to be a great fit. Other projects exploring the history of the body, health, food, environment, and/or empire, socialism, and intellectual history will, hopefully, benefit from this course. Students are strongly encouraged to contact the instructor prior to the beginning of the semester in order to introduce their topic and discuss potential sources.

Instructor bio: Kerry Shannon is a historian of modern Japan and Korea. His research examines the role of public health in both state making and empire making in East Asia. His current book project traces the advent of public health in Japan and Korea during the late nineteenth century, and Japan's usurpation of Korea's public health system as part of Japan's colonization of the peninsula in 1910. More broadly, his research and teaching focus on the social history of science and medicine, and the environmental history of East Asia.

101.010: Topics in Ancient Mediterranean History
Instructor: Emily Mackil 
Tu/Th 12-2pm Dwinelle 3104
Class #22568 
This seminar is a writing workshop for History majors who are writing their senior thesis on any topic in the history of the ancient Mediterranean, from the eighth century BCE to the fourth century CE. We will meet as a group for the first few weeks of the semester to discuss issues of method and the question of how to most effectively frame a research project. Thereafter most meetings will be individual but held during the scheduled course meeting times. Students who plan to enroll in the seminar are strongly encouraged to contact the instructor during the fall semester to discuss potential research topics and sources.

101.011: Writers' Group
Instructor: Tabitha Kanogo  
TuT/h 1-3pm, Dwinelle 2229
Class #32222 
Seniors with well-conceived thesis projects that do not fit within the rubrics of other 101 seminars are welcome. Together, they will observe a common schedule in developing, drafting, and critiquing material. All students should send a written statement to the instructor no later than Friday December 6. The statement should include: 1. A 250 word description of the proposed thesis topic including a preliminary research question; 2. A preliminary annotated bibliography (with full citations) of suitable primary sources; 3. A short (half page) bibliography of secondary sources; 4. A list of previous coursework in the proposed field of research; 5. And the name of a departmental instructor in that field who is willing to help mentor the student by providing bibliographical guidance, occasional consultation, and a critique of the first draft of the thesis. Students apply online by submitting the online preference form, and must also submit their statements directly to Professor Kanogo no later than December 6. Although most applicants will not have had time to develop rigorous statements by the deadline, they must demonstrate the viability of their projects and their commitment to serious preparation in advance of the course. This section is limited to students whose work clearly falls outside the scope of other 101 sections. If in doubt, please apply.

Preparation Guidelines

  1. Identify/describe a topic you would like to investigate for your 101 (thesis). Your topic should be narrowly focused, something that you can examine thoroughly, rather than superficially. As a general rule, it is always better to cast your research net deep instead of wide, to cover less in order to uncover more. Your initial topic description should be informed by a preliminary investigation into both primary and secondary sources (see #3 and #4 below) in order to demonstrate how they address and inform the topic you've chosen. This will help establish your topic's feasibility and viability for your thesis. In other words for #1 to mean anything, you'll need to be sure to do #3 and #4.

  2. Spell out a question (or two or three) about your chosen topic that you would like to answer in your your thesis. Your question(s) must be evaluative, i.e., of the "how" / "why" variety, and not normative, i.e., of the "should" or "ought" variety. Evaluative questions require you to take and defend a position, to advance a thesis claim (i.e., interpretation / argument), in response to them.

  3. Conduct the research necessary to (a) identify a primary source base or primary source bases and then (b) begin conducting preliminary research into those primary sources. Ultimately, your final paper will depend on having a rich array of primary sources available to address the research question(s) you pose (#2) for your topic (#1). Many good research questions simply cannot be answered because they lack primary sources. Consequently, it's essential that you choose a research topic and question(s) that has a wealth of available and accessible primary sources. Ultimately, the strength of your thesis will be a function of the persuasiveness/forcefulness of the thesis claim you advance in your final 101 in light of the narrowly-focused thoroughness of the predominantly primary evidence you marshal to support your thesis claim.

  4. Familiarize yourself with some of the historiography (secondary) sources about your chosen topic, including the interpretations they advance and primary sources they employ.